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News in Numbers: The First Rule of the Remote Working Club Is Being Broken, Our Size and Productivity Are Increasing

6 min read
Jul 31, 2020

The first rule of the remote working club is being broken. What’s the first rule of the remote work club? No, it’s not Fight Club’s “we don’t talk about” the remote work club. The “First Things Rule” refers to the first thing we thought was necessary for efficiently and productively working remotely. I say ‘thought’ because we know a lot more about working from home now than we did six months ago.

Basically, the “First Things Rule” says that before starting your remote workday, you should shower, shave, get dressed, etc. In a nutshell, you should prepare yourself as if you were going to the office. Pre-pandemic, the rule was regarded as essential to being a productive remote worker.

Of course, now, after four months of a massive remote work experiment, our understanding of remote work is much different. One casualty is that rule. Despite productivity increasing or at least staying the same, remote workers are not preparing for their remote workday in the same way as going to the office.

In a recent poll released by NPD, a market research group, only 10% of remote workers are getting completely dressed at the beginning of the day. Of course, if you are working remotely, you probably already know this. You may have also seen the New Zealand councilor who was caught without his pants on during a Zoom meeting or the reporter who was seen on ‘Good Morning America’ with a suit coat on but no pants.

Perhaps this should come as no surprise. Generally, our style of clothing and habits (or lack of them) for getting dressed have undergone a transformation during the first half of 2020. There are a variety of reasons for this. Here are some interesting facts to consider that shed some light on why this happening:

Of course, it stands to reason that we would dress more simply and less formally if we don’t have to go into the office. However, these changes aren’t just happening because we now prefer comfort and function over style and fashion. Since the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, the size of our bodies has also been changing. A few more facts to consider:

So, we know for certain that the surge in remote working is changing our choices, sizes, and styles when it comes to clothing and shoes. Although we’re still early in this international experiment, we also know the change to 100% remote work was often easier for companies than previously predicted, and, in many cases, productivity actually went up.

While the jury will likely be out concerning the cumulative effects of working from home, so far, the transition has gone smoothly. Which, given that remote work isn’t going to go away anytime soon, is a good thing.